Honda will bring swappable EV batteries for rickshaws in India in 2022
The EV segment is gaining traction in India. Big players of the industry, namely Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, TVS, and Bajaj Auto are constantly making new ventures and alliances to boost the pace of electrification. The Europeans too are taking interest in our market. And now, Honda is also dipping its toes. The Japanese manufacturer has announced plans to bring Mobile Power Pack e: (MPP e:) service to India by mid-2022. The MPP e: is a portable and swappable 1.3kwh lithium-ion battery suitable for electric 2- and 3-wheelers. And Honda has specifically aimed at our e-3W commercial segment which contributes to an estimated 20 per cent of the country’s air pollution.
Currently, CNG powered auto Rickshaws are a major means of transport and it has been a challenge to make them fully electric. Those challenges are short-range, long charging time and high cost of batteries. Honda is aiming to eliminate that by its battery sharing services by establishing a local subsidiary which will then install a number of MPP e: swapping stations from where the drivers can swap their batteries. This annihilates the chances of a rickshaw driver losing customers due to long EV charging hours.
Honda has already tested 30 electric rickshaws earlier this year with the testing units being driven for a total of 2,00,000km and it is claiming that it has rectified all major problems that occurred in those tests.
About the MPP e:
The MPP e: unit has a storage amount of 1.3kWh, with an estimated charging time of five hours. Honda has done real-life durability tests to ensure the MPP e: withstands water, vibration and shocks. It weighs 10.3kg and has a handle at the top for easy access. Moreover, The MPP e: also keeps track of its own conditions as well as the occurrence of all events. While MPP e: is charging, this data will be captured through the connection and used for battery sharing and other secondary purposes.
Currently, there are 8 lakh auto-rickshaws in service in India. Some of them are properly maintained and some poorly, but all of them are being used extensively. The complete electrification of the ever-so-dependable tuk-tuk is a very distant reality. But the involvement of such a big manufacturer with all its might can speed things up to attain a better, green environment.